Artwork Title: Nirai Kanai

Nirai Kanai

Shigeru Mizuki

Nirai Kanai is the Okinawan name for the mainland, probably China. There are numerous legends that explain how rice farming began in Japan. An animal, sometimes an eagle, other times a hawk or a crane, took a grain of rice from Nirai Kanai and flew back to Japan. In other versions it is a human who visited Nirai Kanai and brought the grain of rice back. In one of the most unusual tales, it is a whale who brings the grain of rice from Nirai Kanai.

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